Thursday, July 28, 2011

Explaining the Natalie Wood Reference

So in an earlier blog post, I mentioned that Natalie Wood's death caused one of the most frenetic workdays of my life. Hate to put it that way since...y' was SUCH a tragedy and definitely not "all about ME."

Having said that, here's what happened.

It was Thanksgiving weekend, remember? On Sunday, word came from Catalina Island she'd somehow drowned while anchored on the Wagner yacht off Isthmus Cove.

When I heard the news, my first thought centered on how young she was. Too young to die. Too beautiful.

My second thought?

Holy crap. Natalie stars in the Noxema commercial we have running on Tuesday in just about every market in the country. WORSE, in it she utters the line: "This is the last moisturizer I'll ever use..."


Obviously, this was BACK IN THE DAY. Y'know...the day when we didn't have email or faxes, i.e. INSTANT communication. Plus, there were (still are) legalities about how you do stuff when it comes to commercials.

So there I was, bright and EARLY Monday morning, armed with a ton of coffee, ready to spend hours on the phone.

First up: confirm with the advertising agency that they indeed wanted me to pull the commercial. Oh, yeah. They did. (Way to go, New York--smart call!)

Next...okay, you young people prepare yourselves...I sent something called a T E L E G R A M to all the stations carrying the show. See, it had to be uber-official. With a paper trail. And it wasn't like I could just send one to NBC because we weren't a network show, we were SYNDICATED. Meaning that in Boise we might be on the local NBC affiliate but in El Paso we were on ABC. And in Des Moines we might be on an independent.

And the way Western Union worked? I had to read off the full address of each TV station, one at a time. There were about 190.

Alas, it all worked out...with only a couple exceptions, the commercial didn't air.

And that, ladies and gents, is how the death of Natalie Wood impacted by job nearly 30 years ago.

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